The Owners And Players Are On A Different Money Page In Major League Baseball

Money matters.

There are three seasons to go before the collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association is done. Three baseball seasons are lifetimes for many players but 2019 players are talking about what they think needs to happen to ensure a continuing rise in players’ salaries in 2022 and beyond. The players have witnessed a tightening of budgets across the board in Major League Baseball and are not very pleased with what happened with not only Bryce Harper and Manny Machado but dozens upon dozens of others who reached free agency. The owners collectively have reached the decision to scale back investments in players who want massive salaries or long term contracts or both. Players need three years of being on a major league roster to qualify for arbitration. Players need six years of major league service time to become free agents.

The 2021 potential battle between the owners and players will come down to one issue. Money. How to divide revenues from television deals, other media platforms, stadium revenues from club seats to luxury boxes to season ticket holders to day to day tickets sales along with money from signage, concessions and parking. Are the players’ partners in the venture or just employees? Also can companies like Liberty Media, the ownership group of the Atlanta Braves, actually hide media rights fees from the players?  Major League Baseball as a company took in more than $10 billion in revenues in 2018. The last major labor action took place on August 12, 1994 when the players went on strike. It ended when Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, issued a preliminary injunction against the owners on March 31, 1995 because of bad faith bargaining. There are three seasons of fighting to go.

Washington Nationals Bryce Harper celebrates his winning hit during the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 16, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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